Friday, November 7, 2014

Poem of the Day: "Oatmeal" by Galway Kinnell

The Songs of Eretz Poetry Review Poem of the Day for November 7, 2014 is "Oatmeal" by Galway Kinnell.  The text of the poem may be found here:  http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/oatmeal/, and a video of Galway reading the poem to a live audience may be found here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Xv8EY2vWJg.

Galway Kinnell was born in 1927 and died October 28, 2014.  He was a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner.  He was a professor and director of creative writing at New York University and divided his time between his teaching duties there and his home in Vermont.  He was a contemporary of the Beats but chose to write in a different, more easily understood style about common, everyday things.  For this reason, he is compared favorably with Walt Whitman.  Reference to this and additional biographical information may be found here:  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/30/books/galway-kinnell-poet-who-went-his-own-way-dies-at-87.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share&_r=0.

"Oatmeal" is easy enough to understand as a straightforward ode to the cereal sprinkled not only with skim milk but with plenty of humor.  However, underneath the humor, there may be an undercurrent concerning the tragedy of mental illness.  Read in this way, the humor is simultaneously funny and sad.

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